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OAK RIDGE (WATE) - An Oak Ridge man says he was ripped off by an over-the-counter medication he saw advertised on TV that claimed to improve memory.
Bob Norton is a former school teacher who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
He says he was watching TV recently when an infomercial for Procera AVH claimed the medication could clear away the fog created by his disease.
The maker of the product claims it can sharpen one's focus and clear away lost memory power.
That caught Norton's attention.
"They interviewed different doctors and they backed it up," he said. "They stood behind it. And this book tells you the same thing."
The book he's referring to is called "20/20 Brain Bower: 20 Days to a Quicker, Calmer, Sharper Mind."
Norton ordered the book and Procera AVH after watching the commercial on TV.
"I'm grasping for straws because I have trouble remembering up here," he said. "It's aggravating. My wife has to tell me the names of the kids or grandchildren. It's embarrassing to tell you the truth."
People diagnosed with Alzheimer's are sometimes desperate in seeking medication to slow their confusion and memory loss.
As a result, companies are quick to fill the void and advertise aggressively.
Alzheimer groups say there are no current medications that cure the disease or can stop it from progressing, but there may be some that help lessen symptoms for a limited time.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved several types of prescription medications, including Aricept, Exelon, Razadyne, Cognex and Namenda.
But some people are quick to order any type of medication for Alzheimer's if the product makes claims of restoring memory.
Norton says he paid $500 for a year's supply of Procera AVH. With it came bottles of Ceraplex, which the label says is a brain antioxidant.
"This right here is Procera," he said, pointing to the bottle. "It will improve your brain power, mental clarity and a better mood. If it does all that, it's worth the money."
But Norton says it didn't do that and isn't worth the money.
"It didn't restore my memory," he said. "I thought it was maybe a miracle drug. It wasn't."
A user guide sent with the product does not claim it is a miracle drug. The claims it makes are that Procera is a patent-pending, clinically-validated mood and cognitive enhancer.
The drug maker says it can improve blood flow to the brain and boost your brain's energy level.
The guide also claims all of this is possible within 30 to 90 days as long as you take Procera daily as directed.
In the small print on the user guide, however, is this claim: "These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA."
6 On Your Side talked with the developer of Procera AVH.
Josh Reynolds says the product is a nutritional or dietary supplement.
Reynolds says the supplement has gone through clinical trials and those in the study showed improved concentration, clarity, focus, memory and mood as a result of taking Procera.
He also claims a growing number of doctors are suggesting their patients use the supplement.
Norton says he did not consult with his doctor, but that's exactly what Alzheimer's expert Dr. John Dougherty says you should do.
"I might even take some printout from the Internet and show it to their physician," said Dr. Dougherty, the director of the Cole Neuroscience Center at UT Medical Center. "Some of these drugs that are advertised don't have scientific authority."
"They could be dangerous medication and some are very expensive," he added.
Neither Dr. Dougherty nor Bob Norton claim Procera AVH is dangerous, but based on Mr. Norton's experience, his opinion about the drug is clear.
"Leave your money in the bank," he says. "It's a bad investment."
Procera developer Josh Reynolds says there are many satisfied customers who take the drug, but the supplement does not work for everybody.
He added there is a 90-day money back guarantee to those who order Procera and are not satisfied.
If you have a consumer issue, call the 6 On Your Side Hotline at (865) 633-5974 or email email@example.com.